If you have a green thumb and your garden is the envy of neighbors and passers-by alike, perhaps it is time you set yourself up in the landscaping business! Why not earn good money doing something you very dearly love and are very good at? In case you are not exactly sure about how to go about setting up your own business, then here are some helpful suggestions and guidelines for you. First, think about getting an education in business management; this will help you make your new venture successful.
To start your own landscaping business:
Options to choose from. Within the landscaping realm, there are several kinds of business ideas which you can take up. For example, you can tie-up with architectural forms as a landscape contractor, or take up lawn and landscaping maintenance for houses or large companies. Being a landscaper involves various activities such as planning and design, planting and maintenance from seeding to pruning and putting in place supplemental amenities such as seating, ornamentation, etc.
Skills and certification. If you decide to become a professional landscaper, it makes sense to get yourself certified as a Landscape Professional or Certified Landscape Technician. These certifications are provided by the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA). The certification costs $500 for non-members and $275 for members. You need to have a four-year bachelor's degree or a two-year associate's degree, complete the written examination and practical tests before you can be awarded the certificate. You should also have some prior work experience for a specified period - usually 3-5 years if all educational qualifications are in order, else, 5+ years experience in a managerial position in an established landscaping business.
Start-up requirements and costs. You will need to invest in good quality and reliable equipment such as mowers, shears, spades, trowels, etc. If starting on a larger scale, add in the cost of hiring labor, as well. If you intend to work only on the planning and design aspects and are not planning on getting your hands dirty, invest in quality drawing and drafting instruments and equipment such as drawing boards, etc.
Earning potential. If you intend to operate as a solo agent, on average, based on size, you could expect earnings in the range of 30-100 dollars. If you want to go by an hourly rate, then start with $30 per hour. If you intend to hire labor, calculate your costs for equipment, labor and materials such as seedlings, soil, etc and quote a project-wise or hourly fee, beginning from $50 or more, depending on the volume and intricacy of the work involved.
With this, you should be able to kick off your new landscaping business! Remember, there are more than enough resources where you can pick up pointers and skills; for example, you can take classes online in managing your business, or you can work for a professional landscaper for some time to get a better idea of what's involved. The right training and certification is also a must.